Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Tower 20 Double IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tower 20 Double IPATower 20 Double IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

27 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 27
Hads: 90
Avg: 3.52
pDev: 12.78%
Wants: 5
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mactrail on 10-28-2011

The saying “less is more” doesn’t apply to West Coast IPA’s. Less is a glass half empty and Tower 20 is a full glass of unrivaled hop character – a Double IPA where more is more. In brewing this hoppy offering, we took the best of Tower 10 IPA and added more. An abundance of high-alpha Centennial hops give T20 its resinous pine-like bitterness, while Oregon-grown Crystals and Chinooks lend zesty grapefruit and tangerine hop flavors. Don’t hoard this hop bomb, drink it fresh and we’ll brew more.

100 IBU
View: Beers (88) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tower 20 Double IPA Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Reviews: 27 | Hads: 90
Photo of hooliganlife
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pour was a a cloudy golden yellow with thick creamy and foamy head, about an inch or so.

very malty on nose with some light hops. not a lot of depth except for sweet malt.

flavor was similar, this was far more malt forward than hop forward. no idea what the date on this is. lots of sweet caramel and toffee, faint slight bitter citrus hops.

full body, mild bite, no trace of alcohol burn. pretty smooth.

overall, not what i want in a double IPA. it was not bad, but was not stand out.

 490 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, light amber color with less than one finger of diminishing custard-tinted foam head. Light scattered lacing remains on the glass.

S: Rich caramel and toasted grain make this smell like a barleywine. Evidence of hops manifests as fairly dark mixed citrus fruit. Trace esters add to the fruit effect. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with dense pale malt that is cakey and toasted. Hop aromatics are not only herbaceous and spicy, but also distinctly minty, in addition to some more typical dark citrus and pine. Flavors become shallower in the middle, more foliage and slight plastic; malt flees. The finish is only mildly bitter and much cleaner than expected, compared to the beginning. No alcohol is detected.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, changing from an alkaline coating at the front of the palate to an acidic burn in the back of the throat, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This large and malty DIPA may have received a true doubling of the grain bill, going by taste and smell alone. Unfortunately that leaves it unbalanced away from the hop component, with little evidence of serious dry-hopping detected. Otherwise it seems to be assembled by-the-book, very predictable. It fails to eclipse Karl Strauss' long-running Big Barrel Fall seasonal DIPA, which remains the best of their high gravity beers.

 1,382 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a globe glass. Pours goldenrod with a touch of orange haze and offers a half inch of whitish foam. Moderate retention and some artsy lace.

Aroma of malt and some resinous hops, giving way to a notable orange citrus underbelly. Bit of caramel and yeast. Fairly well integrated but not overly robust in the hops department, yet the ABV is well cloaked behind the somewhat malty delivery.

Flavor is more neutral with some pale malt and just a hint of caramel and with a spicy hop character. Bit of citrus spice on the finish and with a moderate lingering yet soft bitterness. Malt is obvious but not overdone but gets a bit rich over time.

Feel is slick and a bit oily with orange and a bit of caramel. Carbonation is lighter than the pour might suggest but firms up a bit with warming. Overall a decent brew that improves with warming and worh a visit.

 872 characters

Photo of elNopalero
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a tan golden color. Light hop aroma, drying hoppy finish. Not too exciting, and judging from my notes I didn’t have all that much to say about it when I tried it either.

 182 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours clear gold color with bubbles and carbonation racing up the brew to a2 finger eggshell white head that was full of bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving great thick foamy lace rings as it went down.

Smells of cereal, grains, caramel, wet bread, light grapefruit and some floral hops; I really had to bury my nose in the glass to get any piney hops as the citrus hops come through but can’t overtake the malt base. Not very hoppy as I expected a lot from a San Diego DIPA, and it’s rather weak smelling overall – timid may actually describe it best.

Tastes like it smells for the most part, with the malt controlling the flavor and seeming much more like an English IPA than a West Coast/San Diego DIPA. This is a mix of sweet malt, cereal, caramel, grains, toffee, cracker/biscuit, light spices like pepper and brown sugar, mild grapefruit, orange peel, light flowers or floral hops, metallic yeasty, copper/penny and a dash of dry piney hops. This is like a beer bimbo, great looking but no substance.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, but yet again almost boring feeling with very mild carbonation, a medium body and a slightly bitter aftertastes where the hoppy grapefruit flavor fades and turns malty and grainy as the sweetness lingers.

I had high hopes for this but was disappointed overall. The only thing this beer does very well besides looking great is hiding the high ABV; this is much easier to drink than a 9.5% ABV beast should be.

 1,463 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.46/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with an impressive head; performs well in both the stickage and lacing departments

Smell: Bready, meaty and malty, with undertones of toffee

Taste: Crusty bread and toffee, with the bitterness developing rapidly; not particularly citrusy or piney, as I would have expected, but more in an earthy direction; nicely balanced, after the swallow, between the malt and the hops though the finish is a bit too sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not a bad beer but far from the top echelon of DIPAs

Thanks, cocoapuph, for the opportunity

 602 characters

Photo of Jason
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

LOOK: Clear amber, think high rise of foam

SMELL: Ripe clementine pulp, leafy, herbal, pineapple rind, clean alcoholic esters, biscuity

TASTE: Creamy, bigger body, smooth, alcohol, hop resin, bitter, ripe tropical fruit, citrus rind, peppery, rose water, bread crust, white cherries, bitter finish

This is a massive beer, not the biggest but more inline that the alcohol and hops are extremely expressive / in your face. Only serious hopheads should take this one on.

 513 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber in color with a finger of off-white head. Kind of past its prime, it seems. Sweet caramel and toffee malt with some bready malt. Floral hops and a bit of citrus, but not all that hoppy. A little bit herbal and piney with some floral notes. Sweet toffee and bread, but overall just kind of meh.

 305 characters

Photo of TaylorIPA19
3.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a shaker pint - No visible dating on the bottle - smells of sweet caramel and tastes much of the same - at the end a little citrus comes in, which kind of reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum... Good head retention and lots of sticky lacing - Not even close to what I want from a DIPA - their Big Barrel DIPA is far superior - truly a disappointment on this one... Who knows, maybe it's an older bottle... Though I'm not likely to try this one again to find out...

 490 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got very curious when I saw the Tower 20 come out.

A- Pretty copper, fair off white head, some cling.

S - Bandaids. Hops. Malt underneath it all.

T - Large malt caramel center, wrapped by hops.

M - Medium body, good carb, ok balance.

D - Nice offering. Def. sessionable.

 275 characters

Photo of rawfish
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Careful pour nets a rocky two finger high head of off white foam. Retention is near infinite, got to the bottom of the glass and the head was still nearly half a finger. Leaves some sticky lacing on the glass.

Pretty even battle between malts and hops, a touch bready that moves towards sweet honey and blends seemlessly into tangerine, orange and pine resin. Centennial hops add earthy tones. Overwhelmingly orange citrus, earthy and sweet.

Crystal malt provides alot of heft in the malt bill along with sweet rolls, and honey. Hop profile is strong orange citrus and pine, not overly resinous, good bitter kick but the finish is quickly overwhelmed with some abrasive solvent alcohol. Dries well in the finish with some bitter pine and residual caramel sweeteners.

Medium bodied, adequate carbonation and very smooth going down. Loss of some points for alcohol rearing its head on the end of the drink and a rather stick sweet mouth coating.

Pretty decent beer, the parts are all there but it's delivered in parts, malt, hops, booze. Could be a bit tighter. Perhaps a bit overly sweet as well though I'm not bothered by it, Karl Strauss does a good job keeping the ABV down in the nose and the head retention is amazing.

 1,226 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer a good deal more than the BA consensus, it seems. Perhaps I got a particularly fresh bottle (thanks ChefBergo for the extra), but this was a good, though certainly not great, DIPA. It looks great; lightly hazed burnished orange color; fluffy white head, good retention and lacing. Very much a citrus forward nose; lots of orange or tangerine, as well as lemon and grapefruit, with some sweet caramel maltiness blending in well.

The flavor is also quite citrusy; surprisingly so, with prominent tangerine notes as well as the aforementioned lemon and grapefruit. True there is a prominent malt character to this beer, one that’s not so much in keeping with the typical San Diego style, but it didn’t seem overbearing or outshine the hop character. Lightly sweet caramel flavor and middle-of-the-road bitterness. Finishes semi-dry. I could see how this one might lean towards the overly malty if it wasn’t very fresh but my bottle certainly didn’t have that problem. Booze is well-hidden

The body is medium-full and carbonation is just a touch under medium; there’s a little bit of creaminess and stickiness to the mouthfeel. Overall this felt pretty spot-on. Again, not a great one and won’t outshine the truly outstanding hoppy beers from the region but this wasn’t bad at all. We had this in a side-by-side with Drake’s Hopocalpyse and preferred this by a small margin, much to our surprise. Worth a shot.

 1,444 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.08/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-oz. bomber into a pint glass. About two fingers of head. Color was caramel honey toffee. Brownish white lacing with some bubbles on the top. Wet, uneven and sporadic film on the sides.

Smelled lemon citrus hops up front. Also some lime piny notes in there. Sweet floral notes. Fairly malty, but still refreshing on the nose.

Very balanced taste, could hardly taste the alcohol. Lemon citrus hops really came through here. The maltiness seemed to balance the citrus hops out. So smooth.

Medium body. Average carbonation. Slight bitter, but smooth finish. Refreshing feeling.

Really liked this beer as I do with most of the ones from Karl Strauss. Smoot h and very drinkable.

 695 characters

Photo of bkkt
4.11/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I had this a few times on tap at the brewpub in SD and thought it was pretty darn good. It doesn't really feel like a DIPA, but none the less it takes on a very hoppy character. It is well balanced out with floral, malt, and a ton of orange citrus flavors. This is a very fruity beer. Its only downfall is the alcohol is a bit strong and feels boozy at times.

 359 characters

Photo of xmorgan
4.28/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been a big Karl Strauss fan for 10 years. I used to go to Southern CA on business once a month, and one stop always, even if it meant driving an extra 2 hours or so, was a mandatory stop at a Karl Strauss Brew pub. Not that plays in to this review,

I liked the beer mix and they had a suppressing good selection of beer for a chain of brew pubs.

Got the bomber of it from Willows Market In Menlo Park, the coolest market with a huge selection.

I have a beer refrigerator that is 50 to 55 digs, I like this for IPAs and most of my other beers here as well, save the Pilsner's (they go in the bottom shelf of the fridge).

Poored a clear golden color.
the smell was very strong alcohol and malt sugars. The smell preceded the taste. Sweet and alcohol with a back of the throat hit of hops. I like this beer but the alcohol hit is a lithe too strong, I would suggest a longer fermentation to mellow this out. Not that I don't like this sensation in say a winter warmer or Christmas beer, rather, then this alcohol taste is welcome. I prefer my IPAs and DIPAs to be less warming and more thirst quenching. I don't mode the ABV being high, I just don't want to taste it. The nice and in my mind saving grace, or the offset to this extreme was the mouthfeel left a pleasant soothing feeling.

I will buy this again, I enjoyed it and will return to it. The mouthfeel and warmth, would be a good IPA for taking to a cold Minnesota Foolball Game.

 1,450 characters

Photo of mactrail
4.32/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sensationally spicy. Rich, tangy, and full of aromatics. So hoppy, but so much more floral and spicy than it is bitter. Sweet and malty but with a tanginess. More like sweet orange than the usual citrus of IPAs. However, it swings into balance with the sharp flavors against the flowers and malt. Golden amber in the glass. Nice lacing.

Brewed for the reopening of the La Jolla location after remodelling this summer. Supposed to be a double version of Tower 10 IPA. In any case it's my favorite DIPA this year. Loads of hops but missing the crazed bitter payback.

 567 characters

Photo of DRen323
4.46/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Without a doubt this instantly became my favorite IIPA. Its not overly hoppy for an IIPA which was nice and it had a nice taste from the get-go. It was smooth, tasted great and I will definitely be going back for another 22 oz of this. I am not sure why others thought this was boring but its not. Its true that its not real hoppy others like others mentioned but dont let that prevent you from trying it. My wife who also likes IPAs like I do could taste the alcohol and wasnt a big fan of the 20 although she does like the tower 10.

 534 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Tower 20 Double IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.